Thailand and the United States will work together on developing a new tuberculosis vaccine, including prototypes using mRNA technology, as Thailand’s competitiveness in public health and medical research receive increasing global recognition.
The World Health Organization lists tuberculosis (TB) as the 13th leading cause of death worldwide and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19. In 2015, the organization ranked Thailand in the top 30 countries for multidrug-resistant TB, but the Kingdom transitioned off the list in 2021, signaling an improvement in a serious situation.
Thai public health officials finalized the partnership between the Kingdom’s National Vaccine Institute (NVI) and the US Vaccine Research Center (VRC) during a recent visit to Washington D.C. The VRC has created vaccines for several deadly diseases including Ebola, Zika and influenza.
The research center also invited Thai researchers to participate in international tuberculosis control and research networks, as part of global efforts to combat and defeat the disease.
Until the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand, despite having strong public health and medical sectors, had virtually no experience in prodcing advanced-technology vaccines. Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, however, selected the Kingdom as one of its locations to produce its Covid-19 vaccines and Thailand built a specialized facility for the purpose. Since then, Thailand has vowed to devote more resources to vaccine research, development and production.
(Source: Royal Thai Embassy in Washington)